The Best 7 Free and Open Source Dental Practice Software
Modern Dental clinics practice Evidence based Dentistry (EBD). Greater emphasis is on scientific research-based decision making by the dentists, and this has revolutionized the dental practice in modern times. Dentists who seek scientific data, systematic reviews and meta-analysis perform better than their peers.
Scheduling the treatment plan and booking multiple appointments is always a conundrum for a dentist. This exercise needs a lot of meticulous planning, and it is in itself time-consuming. Most dentists prefer to work solo. In such situations, they find it difficult to manage both dentistry and office work. The reception staff has to consistently coordinate with the dentist to know the phases of treatment and schedule upcoming activities.
Fortunately, dental practitioners can achieve this with the help of technology. Dentists and oral healthcare providers equipped with the right tools in hand can not only save time but also provide great services with minimum hassle, and affordable treatment to their patients. The role of dental practice software becomes very crucial in mitigating the issues related to time-management and scheduling. Dentists can improve their productivity, clinical efficiency, and streamline their day to day operations with the help of dental practice software.
What is Dental Practice Software?
Dental Practice Software is an application suite that assists dental practitioners and oral healthcare providers in managing their everyday tasks efficiently. It helps dentists reduce costs and frequency of errors in recording patient data. The dental practice software provides dentists the insights, competencies, and tools to maximize their revenue and patient engagement.
What makes a successful dental practice?
Today patients prefer to interact with clinics online, and they want to schedule visits at their convenience. Patients also seek the ease of rescheduling and canceling the appointment without hassle. Patients prefer dentists that have minimum waiting time and with whom communication is easy. A successful dental practice requires dentists to engage, satisfy, and educate their patients. The dentist can do this by:
- Creating a friendly office culture with trained staff
- Providing flexibility to patients regarding appointment booking and payment methods
- Upgrading to state-of-art technology
- Providing professional customer service in case of any discontent
- Delivering the best service with add-ons such as free booklet, advice or counseling
What are the Challenges faced by Dental Practitioners?
- No Shows refers to the situation where the Dentist has given affirmation for an appointment and is expecting a patient to turn up for it. But the patient misses the appointment and fails to come without any prior information. The dentist might have made prior arrangements for the visit, and in such cases, it is difficult to accommodate the empty slot with another patient. Even if the slot is filled, it will create changes in the whole day schedule.
- Time management is a major concern for busy dentists and oral healthcare practitioners. Dentistry is a time-consuming profession. Dentists have to spend considerable time with individual patients, and most of the dental procedures take a long time to complete.
- Insurance claim approvals are not easy to get. The dentists have to furnish a lot of documents to their patients in order to make them eligible for successful insurance claims. Therefore, dentists have to maintain and organize the records of treatment in a proper manner.
- Building their own loyal patient base is yet another challenge for today’s dentist. The revenue stream of a dentist depends on the flow of clients he or she gets regularly. It mostly depends on the type of service you provide, treatment satisfaction you gave in prior meetings, and the cost factor.
- Acquiring the right technology and software tools to increase competitiveness is another area where dentists struggle. As these software store sensitive medical information of the patients, dentists have to put in place security measures to protect patient's health information. In the USA, the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), takes care of the security standards required to protect health information. The health care providers and individual practitioners have to abide by the rules and regulations laid down in the HIPPA. Finding the right tool is a challenge faced by dentists.
What are the benefits of using a Dental Practice Software?
- Patient Engagement
Like in other businesses, even in health care, engagement has become an important criterion for continuous revenue generation for health care providers. With automated messages, emails, phone calls, alerts, etc., dentists can remain in touch with their patients even when the dental treatment is over. The dentist can send them health tips for year-long patient engagement with the help of a dental practice software.
- Increased speed of treatment
When dentists have easy access to data and retrieval of health records is quick, it leads to a reduction of the time involved in treatment. A dental practice software takes care of their treatment plan and schedule. This enables dentists to timely deliver the treatment.
- Cost reduction
The dental practice software has a significant advantage over paper-based methods. It leads to a reduction in costs due to errors or loss of paper documents. It saves paper costs. The time in searching and segregating papers is saved. As the dentist is able to plan the treatment easily with the help of dental practice software, it saves time for the dentist. Saving time means increased ability to accommodate more patients and thereby generating more revenue.
- Improved Compliance with legal and insurance requirements
The dental practice software records crucial patient data that can be retrieved later in case of audit requirements. It is more legible than the paperwork. Secondly, it is also fully compliant with the laws framed to protect patient privacy and security of patient’s medical data. It also helps the dentists to submit any documents required for approval of insurance claims quickly.
- Other benefits
The dental practice software helps the dentist to mitigate the no show scenarios by sending constant reminders to patients about the upcoming appointment. It can also timely reschedule the appointment as per the patient's convenience. With the convenience of online communication and transaction, the patients are more likely to trust the oral health care providers, and it builds a loyal base of customers.
What are the features of Dental Practice Software?
This feature of the dental practice software integrates with an in-built digital calendar to record all visits, appointments, treatment plan’s timings, and any other events to attend. This helps the dentist to see on one dashboard the free slots and the occupied slots so that they can manage their present and future commitments.
- Dental Charting
Dental Charting is a process of listing and organizing information about your teeth in a graphical representation. Your dentist notes down the areas of decay, missing teeth, bleeding teeth, implanted teeth, cavities, etc. and makes a chart. This process can be done easily with the help of a dental charting tool of dental practice software.
- Electronic Health Record (EHR)
The electronic health record is a collection of patient’s data that includes the demographic status, contact information, treatment information, medical records and documents, lab reports, etc. This feature of dental practice software helps dentists to store, organize, and access EHR in the software database.
This feature of dental practice software allows the dentist to define their billing methods. It covers payment methods such as card, cheque, cash, payment wallets, online payment. This also helps dentists to keep accurate records of their dental based finances for tax calculations.
- Reception management
This feature of dental practice software helps in managing the reception area. It is a very important and crucial feature as the dentist is never present in the reception area. Other staff members handle the first interaction with the patients. This feature allows the reception staff to manage patients on the waiting list.
- Patient communication
This feature of dental practice software sends email reminders, alerts, and SMS regarding upcoming appointments to the patients. It can send reminders for due payments also.
- Reports and analytics
This feature provides dental practitioners with reports and analytics to better judge their business growth. It provides various options to generate reports in the graph and chart format.
- Other features
- Multiple language support: Some dental practice software come with multiple language support.
- Software and hardware Support: Some vendors provide software and hardware support, training and installation assistance, and after installation support too.
- Security Standards: Most of the dental practice software adhere to 256-bit encryption and advanced security standards.
The list of 7 free and open-source Dental Practice Software:
- Open EMR
- Practice Dent Lite
Comparison table of 7 Best Free and Open Source Dental Practice Software
Spinnaker is a free and open-source dental practice software built on a powerful .NET framework and My SQL database. It helps the dentists to improve their everyday work activities. It allows creating additional plug-ins to add external features. The public beta version is free to use. To upgrade to the advanced version on needs to contact Dental IT Ltd, the company behind the development of this software service.
- Appointment booking
- Email reminders for upcoming appointments
- Powerful reporting engine with search capabilities
- Dental Charting
- Patient profiling
- Reporting feature to see cleared insurance claims, payments status, etc
- Check-in screen with one dashboard to see all activities
- Text messaging and email recalls and reminders
- Integrates with 60 different digital imaging systems to cover all configurations
- Software and hardware support provided by the vendor
OpenEMR is a free and open source software that lets medical practitioners to keeping accurate records of their patients. It is used by doctors, dentists, hygiene practitioners, etc. to streamline their medical work. It can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux Operating System. It can be customized according to needs. It is available in 30 languages.
- Track patient demographics- name, age, sex, identification
- Scheduling and tracking
- Appointment notifications via email and SMS
- Calendar feature to find open slots for appointment
- Electronic medical records
- Track patient prescriptions
- Billing with insurance and tax support
- Patient reminders
- Patient registration forms
- Multi-language support
- Reports and analytics
- Encrypted documents for enhanced security
OpenDental is an open source dental software that comes with a free trial, comprehensive features, and functionalities to ensure smooth dental office workflow. It has an intuitive interface and is suitable for both small and large dental practice clinics.
- Appointment module to see, edit and confirm the appointment
- Family module to see the patient history and other information
- Patient insurance details
- Account module to see bills, payments, and claims
- Treatment module to make, edit, and print treatment plan
- Chart module for dental charting and storing images
- Set up fees, language, payment methods, etc
- Patient forms
- Message patients
- Patient records management
Dentaltap is a free dental practice software for dentists and dental clinics. It is a cloud-based software. It provides free service until your patient base reaches more than 150. It is a secure platform to record your patient database, as it comes with 256-bit encryption. For credit card transactions, it uses PCI DSS standards. It uses Amazon cloud services for storing data with 99.9% uptime.
- Scheduling of office tasks and treatment process
- Patient Forms
- Billing and Online Payment
- Task management
- Appointment booking
- Sending reminders to patients for forthcoming appointment
- Access rights settings for admins
- Customization of patient card fields
- Access from mobile, tablet and computer
- Track patient history and medical records
- Search option to search patients and treatment records
- Dental Charting
Practice dent Lite is a free dental practice management software that offers a user-friendly interface and robust functionalities to dentists. Practice dent stores information in AWS (Amazon Web Service) cloud servers with negligible downtime. It is a freemium software that has two versions. The practice dent lite is completely free, while the advanced version is a paid one.
- Electronic health record of the patient
- Allows patients to request an appointment
- Reception management
- Treatment planner to record current patient condition, procedure schedule, etc.
- Manage finance such as bills, staff remuneration, expenses etc.
- Health insurance integration
- Reminder emails for appointments, due payments, events, etc.
- Works with all Operating systems and access from anywhere
- Mass mail functionality to the target audience with personalized messages and newsletters.
iKlyk (pronounced as i-Click) is free dental practice software built on Microsoft licensed software, and it provides 256-bit encryption for secure hosting. It is a cloud-based service and assists dentists and hygiene practitioners in performing their day to day operations. It is a certified software vendor by CDA (Canadian Dental Association).
- Appointment manager
- Email-reminders for upcoming appointments to patients
- Metrics and reports to gauge business strength
- Upload patient images and scans on secure servers
- Enter Clinical notes
- Treatment planning
- In-built videos for training
- Access your data on any device, tablets, Macs, PCs, and mobile.
Dentsoftware is a dental practice software solution that comes with a free trial of its services. It automates and speeds up day to day dental activities. It is available in both offline and online modes. It simplifies complex dental business processes. This software assists the dentists to make their profession profitable and efficient. It comes in both cloud and local versions.
- Tracking and managing Dental appointments
- Dental Charting
- Prescription preset for quicker prescriptions
- Billing and invoicing
- Reception management
- Patient profile with complete demographics of the patient
- Advanced search capabilities to search patients and profiles
- Easy uploads of images-Xrays and scans
- SSL security with a password strength check
- Access rights to admins
- Synchronized calendar to show available slots
- Online patient registration
This article will discuss one more Dental Practice Software owing to its popularity and robust functionalities. Dentrix is a popular dental practice management software. Let us see its features in detail:
Dentrix is a dental practice management software that can increase your dental team's productivity by manifold. It is market-leading software that comes with innovative business, clinical, and front office tools. With its set of integrations with third-party products, it provides quality dental services.
- Quickly build and share agendas
- Patient health history
- 3D patient dental charting
- Synchronize patient images, X Rays, Scans, intraoral images, etc
- Treatment plan
- Organize clinical notes
- Measure financial progress with easy to read reports
- Password-protected logins
- Scheduling and task calendar
- Patient communication manager to send emails, SMS, notifications to patients
- Payment process manager
- Store and retrieve patient documents
A dental practice software makes the life of both dentists and patients easy. Technologies such as 3D printing, digital impressions, Robot Dentist artificial intelligence, and others are revolutionizing the oral healthcare industry.
The global dental practice management software market size is expected to reach USD 3.4 billion by 2026.
This offers a great business opportunity for dental practice software vendors. It is also good news for dental practitioners because the size of such a lucrative market will bring in more competitors, and the software vendors will have to provide better services to retain existing customers and gain more. With the right tool in hand, the dentist can perform their work speedily and bring in greater work efficiency. Dentists can choose from any of the dental practice software discussed in this article.
Before choosing the right dental practice software for your dental practice, keep the following points in mind:
- Identify the issues you are facing in your dental practice
- Decide upon the required features that you need in your dental practice software
- Check if the software is in compliance with the dental health regulation. It should be approved or fall under the standards laid down by the dental association of your country.
- Check if you can access it from all modes such as laptop, mobile, computer.
- Check pricing and installation criteria. (Whether it is cloud-based, web-based, Open source)
We will be glad to get your views about the article in the comments section below. If you have utilized any of the free and open-source dental practice software mentioned above, then do share your feedback with us.
Generating high-quality leads having the maximum capability of getting converted is the biggest challenge marketers face these days. To overcome this challenge, it has be ... continue reading